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August 18, 2013

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/S. Williams
2‑6, 6‑2, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Congratulations.

Q.テつ How are you feeling?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Great.テつ I am feeling very good.テつ Obviously, a big win.テつ It was a great match.テつ Really, really pleased with the way I pulled it out.テつ It was a great battle.
There were no anything give away.テつ It was pure fight.テつ So I'm really happy.

Q.テつ I think you lost the first eight points of the match in a row.テつ Then you broke that Love and then she held a Love.テつ Were you feeling like‑‑ did you see this was all coming to that point?テつ Even through the whole first set, it looked like it might be one‑way traffic a bit.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ If I were to be focused on that, then it would go that way, but I was just trying to focus to find the rhythm.テつ You know, sometimes it's a little bit more challenging for me to start the match because she has big game with big shots.テつ So it kind of‑‑ I get a little bit slower into the match.
But the important thing is how I adjusted to it.テつ I really stepped it up.テつ I was fighting hard and changed my game and just have to maybe take into consideration the next time we play to try to be there right from the beginning because it is crucial.
You don't want to give any chances at any point because Serena is such an incredible player that she will take everything.

Q.テつ Was it a matter of kind of being better on the execution side, or was it technical that kind of helped you turn it around in the second set?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think it was more about being there myself really because‑‑

Q.テつ Focus.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Not really focus, but really start to go through my shots.テつ It was a little bit too passive, a little bit too slow.テつ One step not enough.テつ But it's all about really turning it around and wanting to turn it around, and that's what I did.
I really wanted to try my best, and sometimes it doesn't happen right away, but if you keep going, knowing what you have to do to win, that makes it easier.

Q.テつ Vika, overall, what were the keys today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Take your opportunities and really don't let her swing through because she has those amazing big shots from every possible position.テつ So I always had to be aware and to match that up, to try to step up whenever I have an opportunity.
It's always the matter of one or two first balls to really who's going to take advantage and do something with it.テつ That's about it.

Q.テつ She said that her level‑‑ she felt like not‑‑ like she didn't have a high level of energy perhaps, which isn't to take away credit from your win, but did you notice that at all?テつ Was that something that you sort of capitalized on that she might not have been as spry, I guess, today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't know.テつ I didn't really watch‑‑ I don't really watch my opponent much, but I think it was a pretty good match overall.
It was very intense throughout the whole match.テつ I felt like my energy wasn't maybe there 100% at the beginning, but that's what the match is about.テつ It goes up and down, and you battle against somebody, and you have an edge or then you don't have an edge.
So that's what is exciting about that to try to take your opponent to that place where they don't feel at their best.

Q.テつ This match was very similar to last year's US Open final in terms of‑‑
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I knew I was going to get that question.テつ I knew it.

Q.テつ In terms of momentum.

Q.テつ But in terms of momentum, obviously with one big difference being that you were able‑‑ did that cross your mind at all during the match, or is it something you fall back on in terms of how to react in certain moments?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ No.テつ I didn't think about that.テつ I just‑‑ I was really focused on the moment of what I have to do in that particular moment.テつ Actually, not even thinking what happened in the last point, what's going to happen in the point next game, or what do I have to do?テつ I was just trying to stay focused on one‑‑ actually, one shot at a time really because that's what helps me too stay focused.
Because if I'm thinking about too much ahead, then I'm rushing or something.テつ So it was important for me to just keep that focus on my execution.

Q.テつ Victoria, you've now won 2 of your last 3 meetings against Serena.テつ Not a lot of players can say that in recent years.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ My third win, huh?

Q.テつ That's more than you had before.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: テつI'm very happy about that.テつ I'm not making fun.テつ It's just a little funny.

Q.テつ Do you feel like it's becoming more of a rivalry recently?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think‑‑ you know, I don't think about that I want to be a rivalry.テつ I just think about that every time we play, I face a big challenge, my biggest opponent, and that's what I want to go through.
And playing in the final of any tournament against the best player, that's what you really strive for and to overcome and beat.テつ That's why I'm playing tennis.テつ That's what excites me.テつ That's what motivates me.
You know, I had tough losses before against her, but I feel like I learned from those losses, and it helps me improve.テつ No matter what would have been an outcome today, I feel like I'm playing better and better.テつ I'm reaching for the new level that I want to be at, physically, mentally, tennis‑wise, and that's the progression that I'm really the most excited about.

Q.テつ Vika, in general, you play her pretty close, win or lose.テつ Why do you think that is?テつ Is it just your level of play or the way you match up against her or anything else?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I would think of myself as a pretty good player.テつ Yeah, I think‑‑ you know, we have so much respect for each other's game, and we both know how hard each other work, and that respect of getting better every time is like taking‑‑ you know, pushing the limits every time much higher.
So I don't know, I'm just excited of being a part of playing against Serena, playing against all the other girls, you know, really raising my level, and just playing tennis is what I love to do.
I don't know why I am playing so close against Serena, but I had pretty bad losses too.テつ I don't want to really think about them.テつ I just look forward in what I have to do next.

Q.テつ You guys seem to get along pretty well off court too.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, we are.

Q.テつ Does that‑‑ how much of like the way you guys play together on court translate into how your relationship is off court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think on court we just fighters out there.テつ I don't feel like it's principle, you know, principle game.テつ I just enjoy that battle that much and have a lot of respect.
And off court, Serena is a great person.テつ I like her a lot.テつ We get along.テつ We have a good laugh.テつ We're talking after the match.テつ So it's no problem.
But to be able to compete at that level, it's great, and I think it's exciting for the fans to see not only the good fight on the court but a good relationship off court as well.

Q.テつ She said she encouraged you to pop the champagne on the court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ She did.テつ She said, yeah, you should pop it.テつ I was like, I know, I want to, but I need to get more practice because I felt like I'm not directing it too well.

Q.テつ She said a lot of good things about you.テつ It sounds like you guys have personalities that go together well off court as well.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I think so.テつ I mean, we have great relationship off court.テつ It's always been that way.テつ When I was just coming on tour, I was always looking up to Serena because maybe she's been on tour for a while, and once I got to know her, we just kind of clicked, and that's pretty much it.

Q.テつ Vika, I hate to take it back to the actual match, but the volley‑‑

Q.テつ But the volley that you hit at 6‑6 in the breaker was quite something.テつ Do you remember much of that point?テつ It seemed like the point of the match and a huge turning point, obviously, you got your second match point.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I had to‑‑ at this level, at this moment, you have to come up with something extraordinary if you want to win, just to sit and wait and hope for a mistake, forget about it.テつ I learned that last couple of meetings that is not going to happen.
So I was just trying to make‑‑ make my chances, make my opportunities happen, and I knew I had to step up and be aggressive.テつ Yeah, that volley was pretty good.テつ Should come more to the net.

Q.テつ You're very good at the net.テつ You know that you are, doubles and all that sort of stuff.テつ Is that kind of the next evolution in your game is trying to transition to get you up there more?テつ Because you're more than competent up there.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I think so.テつ I think it's been a little bit more noticeable in the last couple actually tournaments, you know, in Carlsbad as well.テつ It's something I want to do more.
Like I said, it's a progress, and now I'm off to the US Open, try to kind of still raise that level and try to be there at my peak.
I felt like this match is a great setup for me to feel that way in the US Open.

Q.テつ Victoria, coming off a win over Serena and you only lost one match all year on hard court, do you feel like you should be a favorite going into the US Open?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I will not be a favorite.テつ I still think that just, you know, we're in the United States.テつ So we're going to‑‑ Serena is going to be‑‑ she is No.1 in the world.テつ She is a great champion, and she's defending champion, so she's going to be a favorite there.
About who's second favorite, third favorite, I don't really care about that, and I never really pick people, only maybe sometimes guys who I want to win, but that's it.
But I think it's a great boost of confidence to go to the US Open, great week to go through matches back to back.テつ Tough matches is also important for me to feel like I'm back competing at the same level constantly and consistently.テつ So that's what I'm most excited about.

Q.テつ What do you remember most about last year's final?

Q.テつ It's good that you can remember it.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I always remember, unfortunately.

Q.テつ Vika, the game you're playing now, say, versus two years ago, how would you describe it to a casual tennis fan?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think I improve a lot more my physical ability, which helped me to do a lot more on the court, you know, find different angles, find different shot selection.テつ You know, the variety is definitely much better.
I learn how to win ugly sometimes, you know, even when I double fault for 15 times or whatever.
So these things that you can call experience, going through tough matches and really dig deep, that maybe two, three years ago, I didn't know that place that I can dig in.
So I think all of that is kind of shaping up to be a different player from two years ago.

Q.テつ Vika, I know you don't like to look at rivalries or what one might call a rivalry, but in terms of how the tour gets sold and who people pay attention to, rivalries kind of matter.テつ So do you think that you and Serena have the preeminent rivalry in the women's game right now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think it's a matter of‑‑ as a player, you don't really decide that.テつ I think it's exciting for the fans to see who they want to see, and if it's me and Serena, then that's just a great pleasure for me.テつ So I think I will just leave it up to you guys and to the fans because it is important to know the opinion of how people see you, and it also matters how well you take it.
But if people want to see us play more and more, I'm up for it.

Q.テつ So who would you pick on the guys' side to win the Open?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ It's a tough one.テつ It's really tough because they're‑‑ I mean, last year I wanted Andy to win‑‑ well, he won Wimbledon, and I never seen him so happy.テつ I was so proud of him.テつ I feel like Rafa is playing incredible right now, and he's such a nice guy.テつ I would love to see him win.テつ Who doesn't love Roger?テつ It's tough not to love him.
So it's hard to choose between‑‑ and Novak is an incredible guy.テつ He's really funny, and he's an incredible athlete.テつ This is my top four.

Q.テつ That's not a choice.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I know, I know, but I think I will root for Rafa a little bit more.テつ It would be great to see him back and winning on hard courts.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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